Four agencies - Cake, Band & Brown Communications, Lexis Public Relations and Kazoo Communications - will contest the account in a pitch overseen by the COI next month.
COI deputy director of PR and sponsorship Janice O'Reilly said: The aim is to increase awareness of the Royal Marines as an elite corp, to convey that they are one of the best trained of the British forces and to position them firmly as part of the Royal Navy.'
The Royal Navy has a self-imposed target to drum up 4,000 applications every year and is looking to fill 1,140 vacancies, said O'Reilly.
The PR drive will accompany a burst of TV, radio, cinema, press and online advertising, which broke last week carrying the message '99.99 per cent need not apply.'
The army's SAS has lost more than 120 men to the private sector since the invasion of Iraq, prompting talks over potential retention payments.
The army employs Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster to manage its national recruitment campaign and Golley Slater, which manages its regional recruitment drive.